Like the Allies did with Japan after WW2 or how they also imposed a democracy on Germany after WW1. Were these democracies intended to keep Japan & Germany from starting any wars in the hopes that the constant government changes and checks & balances would prevent any real international action from occuring?
Wouldn’t the mere fact that WE were a democracy and percieved ourselves to have gobs of civil rights and freedoms and good economies and baseball and apple pie and whatnot be a more likely explanation?
Somewhat. But Germany before hitler was a mess, the government changed all the time. A Germany whose government was always changing coulnd’t maintain a drawn out war. Only after the Nazis removed the democracy could Germany go back to war.
You can have an impotent democracy.
You can have a powerful democracy.
You can have an impotent dictatorship.
You can have a powerful dictatorship.
There’re very few things that are inherent to one form of government or another. Did you know it’s possible to have a perfectly benevolent, peaceful, happy, utopian dictatorship? Not likely, but possible.
We had four years of war to work up the agenda that we were fighting, not for stable governments, as the appeasers had done, but real change from on-man rule situations.
Since then, based primarily on our support of our business interests, we have gone back to supporting any dictator that looks like he can retain power and will not nationalize those business interests, oil fields, etc.
Only Jimmy Carter had enough conscience to rebel at that, but got mired in Iran’s politics and never could change general foreign policy.
And here again we are setting up Iraq for a new dynasty of dictators, because we just don’t want to push for an inclusive constitution and will soon leave the place to any group who will let us keep oil interests. Probably the Shiites. Another dictatorial ayatollah to mirror Iran’s.
I think it’s because democracies never wage war on other democracies.
I’m not sure what you meant by “impotent” but I’d say that Hitler, the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, would say that the anglo democracies are pretty powerful stuff.
The developed world doesn’t support democracy. Individual developed countries support various governments according to their national interest. This may mean supporting democratic governments, but in the past usually has not.
Correct me if i’m wrong, but don’t Germany and Japan have pacificism written into their constitution? I’m fairly sure both countries until very recently were not allowed to station troops outside their national borders. I’d say this is the action the allies took to make sure they wouldn’t start any wars.
I think it’s because democracies never wage war on other democracies.
So…there was no Mexican-American War?
Except that quite a good case has been made (cf Shirer’s Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and other sources) that the Weimar Republic was a sabotaged democracy from the beginning. Germany between the wars was impotent, but it was not because it was a democratic state. It had a great deal to do with the economic burden of Versailles. In addition, the army opposed democracy. Judges would go easy on anti-government crimes as long as they were by a nationalist (or purportedly nationalist) perpetrator. Industrialists gleefully leaped into the arms of anti-democracy nationalists and militarists.
Part of the theory behind imposing vigorous democracy at the time, from my reading on the subject, is that it would act as a brake against aggression, giving voice to the common people who would “naturally” oppose aggressive military action. The strange thing is that this was imposed under the Aegis of two of the most militarily aggressive democracies in history–except that our aggressions had happened comfortably enough far back in the past to be fuzzy half-memories. In essence, it was a natural outgrowth of “Great Man” theory of history. Ensure that enough “grey men” are around, and no “Great Man” could emerge to beat the war drums.
However, the British Empire was built on the actions of far more grey men than Great Men.
I think you mean the US imposed its religion of capitalism first, and then figured out which method/system of Government would be most amenable – the US has been very flexible about the politics of leaders of its puppet regimes in countries its managed to destabalise.
Just so happens the democracy model – or a façade of democracy, at the moment - suits the present situation in Iraq, as it did Japan and Germany; wasn’t quite the case in, say, central and south America for a very long time. Or Asia come to that.
But yeah, it’s about imposing the religion of capitalsim, the system of Government we can talk about . . .
Ouf course it is. I call it my household.
As for “the world” and “supporting democracy”.
The Dreamerish Idealistic Idea that this “support” isn’t deeply founded in the wish to let it serve Capitalism First, sounds like a left-over from the Flower Power Movement to me.
Whatever side is more powerful will be the more supported form of government. When the USSR was together they didn’t attack any other dictatorships either. Now that the USSR is gone there isn’t much of a push to become a communist state (though a few still havn’t realized it went out of fashion a while ago).
If Normandy had failed due to the uncertain weather conditions that week there is a good chance that Hitler would have held Europe, forced England to fold, and the success of the Allied campaign would have been in question.
If this happened we might be in a world where democracy is a faint memory in the minds of the old, though it never did so its really all speculation.
Minus the word “other”.
We nominally support democracy/democracies for a number of reasons:
It is a virtuous sounding word. Runs trippingly off the tongue with other such words as liberty, prosperity, etc. After all, if we have democracy it must be a good thing.
We subconciously assume that as a country becomes more democratic, it becomes more like us in all ways - cleaner, smarter, peaceful, charitable, generous, sane, market driven, capitalist, using negotiations rather than force, tending towards free trade, not making trouble for the neighbors. (How we see ourselves vs. how others see us is a whole other issue)
We actually do believe that democracy is a form of government more responsible and responsive to its citizens. As a result of this belief we back democracy whenever and wherever it does not conflict with our other interests or our general apathy to things happening far away.
I advocate the UNDHR and, therefore, democracy (articles 27-29). I believe my government advocates the UNDHR also (although sometimes it’s hard to tell).
Any decrease in hostility is just a bonus. Democracy is the least imperfect system of government, and tends to have mutual advantages for all concerned.
Actually, a far more likely scenario would have been Germany losing the war as the result of being attacked with nuclear weapons. No matter what happened in Normandy, the clock was ticking towards August 1945, when the weather forecast in Germany would have been a high of 10,000,000 degrees with a chance of fallout.
Your general point’s quite valid though. States tend to deal best with similarly organized states. This is not just true of modern democracies or Communist states; look at how monarchical Europe reacted to the creation of a republic in France. It was instant warfare.
And your point is certainly true that democracy was in trouble. I don’t think it hung in the balance at Normandy, but the events of 1914 to 1945 certainly put the supremacy of democracy at risk. A few bad breaks and we’d live in a world dominated by fascism, communism, or both, and I don’t just mean bad break in WWII. Weaker leadership could have resulted in the rise of fascist parties in England or the USA. You never know.
In fact, it sort of gives lie to the OP. Democracy saved itself between 1914 and 1945 due to its strength - specifically, the legitimacy and stability to gave to established democracies like the UK and USA, which enabled them to survive the Depression, and the military strength they were able to muster to defeat fascism and subsequently contain communism. There’s nothing impotent about democracy at all.
I support what RickJay said, and will go even further: in a sense (a purely selfish, realpolitic sense) it is against the interests of the West in general and the US in particular to encourage the spread of democracy and economic liberalism.
Why? Because established democracies tend to become more stable and powerful over time. Right now, the US is a superpower unchallenged. What if (say) China went with a real democracy - is it not possible that it would then pose a real challenge to the pre-eminence of the US in the future?
If, on the contrary, they remain a despotic state, they will never overtake the US … while they may be unstable and violent in their relations with other countries, they will never muster up the ability to overtake the might of the US.
Encouraging other nations to remain non-democratic is part and parcel of encouraging them to remain backwards and thus not a real threat. The same goes for religious fundamentalism in the Muslim world - in a purely realpolitic way, it makes sense to encourage it.
[Note that I am not saying that the US is doing either of these things - just that, in a harshly selfish analysis, it would be in its interest to; assuming that “its interest” is to remain a super-power without rival. Of course, the US has a lot of other interests which may and probably do trump that particular interest].